Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati on Sunday said if voted to power in Uttar Pradesh, her party will rename Bhadohi as Sant Ravidas Nagar.
In a statement issued in New Delhi, she said, "As soon as the BSP comes to power (in Uttar Pradesh), it will rename Bhadohi as Sant Ravidas Nagar. The previous Samajwadi Party government had changed its name due to its casteist mentality."
Mayawati accused the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of never honouring saint-poet Ravidas during their tenures and indulging in "theatrics" now by visiting temples.
Listing the work done by the BSP to keep the memory of Ravidas alive, Mayawati said, "Sant Ravidas Park and Ghat were made in Varanasi, his place of birth, his statue was installed in Varanasi and the Ravidas Samman Puraskar constituted. The Santguru Ravidas Rajkiya Mahavidyalay was established in Faizabad. Apart from this, Sant Ravidas Polytechnic was established in Chandauli. A bridge on river Ganga was named after the saint. Assistance was given for Sant Ravidas Dharamshala in Badaun."
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister's assertion to rename Bhadohi as Sant Ravidas Nagar came close on the heels of a proposal to change the name of Basti, a district located in the eastern parts of the state, after Maharishi Vashishth.
The District Magistrate (DM) of Basti, Ashutosh Niranjan, had said the proposal to change the district's name was sent to the revenue board and the expenditure for it was pegged at Rs 1 crore.
The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has changed the name of Allahabad to Prayagraj and that of Faizabad to Ayodhya. It has also renamed the Mughalsarai railway station after Deen Dayal Upadhyay.
According to officials, about a year ago during the Basti Mahotsav, Chief Minister Adityanath had announced that the Basti Medical College will be named after Maharishi Vashishth, who, according to Hindu mythology, was the guru of Lord Ram and his brother Lord Lakshman.
Hitting out at the Congress and BJP, Mayawati said these parties were indulging in "theatrics" now by visiting temples.
The BSP chief's remarks came on a day when Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was in Varanasi to offer prayers to Guru Ravidas on the occasion of his birth anniversary.
"The Congress, the BJP and other parties did not give any respect or honour to Sant Ravidas during their tenures. But after being out of power, they are indulging in various theatrics to realise their vested interests by visiting temples and other places," Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
In another tweet, she said, "The BSP, on the other hand, has been the only party, which during its government, gave respect to him at various levels, which the opposition parties are trying to put an end to. This is highly condemnable."
Ravidas Jayanti, the birth anniversary of Ravidas, is being celebrated across the country on Sunday. Ravidas, a 14th-century saint, was the founder of the Bhakti movement in north India.
Lakhs of people converge at the Shri Guru Ravidas Janam Asthan Mandir in Varanasi to celebrate his birth anniversary on this day every year.